When the Nintendo Wii came out in the Fall of 2006, people of all ages, shapes, and sizes were fighting to get their hands on one and stores were back ordered for months, unable to keep up with the demand. Nintendo was going to revolutionize the way games were played by having a wireless, motion sensing controller that got the player more involved in the game than ever before. A slew of new games that utilized the Wii’s interactive capabilities got gamers excited in anticipation of having the console for their own. On the outside, it sounded like the Wii had PS3 and XBOX360 beat by a long shot: it was only $250 compared to PS3’s $600 and XBOX 360’s $400 and you got the added benefit of exercise while you played. Now, two years and some odd months later, the Wii charm seems to be wearing off. People still had good things to say about the system, but do they really play it anymore?
When I went to a friend’s New Years party, his girlfriend fired up their Wii with a couple friends and played Cooking Mama for half an hour. While watching, I realized how childish Nintendo had become by making games that only appealed to little kids and older people; people, who don’t normally play games. Not to mention the fact that little improvement in graphics was made from the jump from GameCube to Wii, at least not as much as PS3 and XBOX360. Appealing to a large demographic and getting all the consumers that PS3 and XBOX360 missed may sound like a good idea, but when you think about it, the people who own a PS3 or 360 are much more dedicated to their consoles and play more than the causal Wii owner. Nintendo has also kept up its long running tradition of having short, childish games that don’t appeal to the gamers who grew up with old-school classics like Chrono Trigger on the SNES.
Wii Fit couldn’t live up to the hype; people thought it could actually be considered exercise. Trying to combine fitness and video games is like trying to eat peanut butter smeared on a steak; the combination doesn’t work, or at least doesn’t work yet with current technology. Call me old fashioned, but I actually like to enjoy the game I’m playing and not have to worry about breaking a sweat. If I want a workout, I’ll go to the gym or go for a run.
While the console itself sold well, the Wii doesn’t have the strong game library that PS3 and XBOX360 have. Besides the slew of Wii Fit, Wii Tennis, Wii Music, Wii Don’t Care games, there aren’t memorable games for the Wii that give players a rich gaming experience. Most of the games are topical, short lived games that focus on quick bursts of multiplayer gaming. Of course, nothing is more fun than having friends over and playing Rock Band until the neighbors complain, but I also enjoy an engaging one-player game with a deep story and complex characters to keep me riveted to the screen; Wii just doesn’t cater to that sort of gamer.
The Wii continues to put out game after game that market to a casual crowd who, more often than not, only play the game once. If you want exercise, go outside, or at least develop technology as such that we can play games while wearing virtual reality headsets; and kids already have games made specifically for them, they are on those commercials where the kid sticks in a controller shaped as a bat and tries not the bash in the TV while playing baseball. Gaming consoles should stick to the people who made them successful in the first place. So while the Wii consoles gather dust next to the DVD player, I’m going to happily wait for Final Fantasy XIII.
My name is Brendan and I grew up playing video games, so whether I like it or not, they are a part of my life and many other people’s as well. I enjoy discussing the topic of video games so check out my website to see more articles that talk about the gaming industry [http://brendanigan.com].